Curated City Guides by Your Favorite Designers and Tastemakers.
Bars & Restaurants
Midtown Global is an amazing collection of cheap ethnic food, produce vendors and crafts shops. In my opinion, the best Mexican food in the Cities resides in this building and no place is better than La Sirena Gorda. The octopus tacos and ceviche are two of their can't miss items. Make sure to save room for a cherry-chocolate chip cookie from Salty Tart on your way out.
920 East Lake Street
Hands down, my favorite place to eat in the Twin Cities. They serve amazing Latin soul food out of a renovated garage in Northeast Minneapolis. The pork sandwich is to die for, but the sides are where it's at. You can pick from all sorts of Southern-style options like fried yucca, fried plantains or yams with andouille sausage. You can even wash it all down with a Mexican Coke or Arny Palmer.
600 East Hennepin Avenue
I've been to all sorts of fancy New York pizza places, but none were as satisfying as the wood fired pizza at Punch. The traditional stuff on the menu is amazing, but my favorite is the Mimi. This pizza consists of a caprese salad piled on top of their garlic rubbed flatbread right after it leaves the oven.
3226 West Lake Street
Ted Cook's is a family-run, take-out only BBQ joint located in Southeast Minneapolis near the train tracks. You order your food from a nondescript room with pictures of meat on the walls and the man behind the counter does not tolerate fools who can't decide what to get. Later, your order comes in a white styrofoam box with a piece of white bread. The food is amazing though. Everything on the menu is cooked to perfection, the sauces are A-grade and they finish it off with a mountain of jo jo potatoes. I love everything about this place.
2814 E 38th St
Bob's is located right in front of the Zeus Jones office. They know you by name and start making your drink as soon as they see you crossing the street. I'm told they make good chai tea and lattes, but I've only ever had black coffee. It also doubles as a popular biker hangout which seems to effectively ward off most hipsters. Bob's is my go-to spot for top secret meetings.
2651 Lyndale Avenue South
This is a great place to go for a diner-style breakfast. Everything on the menu is pretty standard fare, but done really well. The atmosphere is a big part of what makes Hot Plate special. Almost all the decor has a distinct retro modern feel and the walls are lined with a massive collection of paint by number art.
5204 Bloomington Ave
Nothing fancy here, just a giant warehouse filled with Room and Board furniture that's usually around 50% off. They've got a huge selection of couches, tables, patio furniture, etc. They are only open on the weekend and the line at the door forms about an hour before starting time. Once open, people hurry in and quickly claim the best stuff they can get their hands on.
4600 Olson Memorial Highway
Located right on the Midtown Greenway, this is the handiest bike shop in town. If you ever have a mechanical problem while you're out on a ride, it's easy to drop in and get some repairs. You can even hang out in the coffee shop while you're getting your bike worked on.
2834 10th Avenue South
The museum is amazing, but the gift shop is a great place to find tons of art books, design objects and jewelry from local artisans. Sadly, I usually end up spending more time here than the rest of the building.
1750 Hennepin Avenue
Spruce is a tiny flower and home decor shop located in the 48th and Chicago area. The shop is full of unique plants and carefully curated items for the home. Amy also teaches floral arrangement classes every Tuesday night for anyone interested. Last year she even trusted me enough to design her logo and signage when she opened.
4751 Chicago Ave S
This is my go-to store for screen printing supplies. They've got a great selection of ink, screens, squeegees, emulsion and everything else you might need. The staff is also very knowledgable if you run into trouble during the printing process.
4200 East Lake Street
Occasionally, a man needs to sew a thing or two. Crafty Planet has a bunch of unique fabrics and supplies to choose from. A few years ago, one of their staff even taught me how to work a sewing machine.
2833 Johnson Street Northeast
It only lasts from late August to Labor Day, but the Minnesota State Fair is a must see event. There's enough fried things on a stick, cheese curds and chocolate covered bacon to do permanent bodily harm. Gluttony aside, the fair is also a great place to sit and people watch. The Midway crowd brings an unmistakable People of Walmart vibe to the proceedings. While you're at it, be sure to check out the world's largest pig and see some topnotch butter sculptures.
1265 Snelling Ave
I love sports, but I hate soulless sporting venues like the Target Center. Williams Arena, also known as "The Barn", is where the Gophers play their home basketball games. Built in 1928, this place is tiny, hot and loud. Most of the seats are wooden benches and the walls are still just cinder blocks. Going there is like stepping into the movie "Hoosiers". You'll never see Coldplay at Williams Arena, but you will see good basketball the way God intended. This is our Fenway Park.
1925 University Ave SE
I never knew this thing existed until I moved into the neighborhood because it's hidden from nearly every angle in the city. The Washburn Tower is a super-creepy stone water tower built in Minneapolis during the early 20th Century. At it's base are the Guardians of Health, eight stone statues of grim medieval warriors with giant swords that are said to protect the water supply from pollutants. Seriously.
401 Prospect Avenue